Officials made the announcement on Tuesday, and the new missiles will replace existing ICBMs.
The Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) will be tested within two years as Russia prepares for the perceived threat of U.S. deployments in Eastern Europe, writes Kukil Bora for The International Business Times.
New Sarmat missile will replace ICBM codenamed “Satan”
As it stands the Sarmat is in its third stage of development. In its final form it is expected to be available in various configurations with a warhead which weighs 10 tons.
Sarmat is predicted to replace the R-36M2 Voyevoda missile, which NATO nicknames the “SS-18 Satan.”
“As of today, the third stage of the design and development work is under way. I believe we’ll reach the stage of tests of this heavy missile in 18-24 months,” said Igor Denisov, secretary to the commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, reports Tass news agency.
Officials also announced that every Strategic Missile Force division will be rearmed with the Yars and Yars-M mobile ground missile systems in 2021. The new system will replace the existing Topol missile complex.
Russian forces in East Siberia are set to receive 50 Iskander ballistic missile systems by September. An official announced that troops would be trained in southern Russia before the missiles were deployed in Buryatia, Siberia.
Fears of U.S. presence in Eastern Europe sparks Russian modernization
Aggressive improvements to Moscow’s missile capabilities are being carried out despite Russia’s current economic struggles. Officials are worried that the U.S. is working on defensive missiles which will be deployed in Poland and Romania by 2018.
“We observe the creation of US missile defense systems,” said Colonel Oleg Pyshny, head of the 4th Central Research Institute of the Russian Ministry of Defense, reports RIA Novosti. “Yes, we assume that in the SM-3 missiles family some new ones which will be a threat to us will appear with time. This year the first (with no interception) missile tests on ‘SM-3 Block 2A’ were conducted, which have already caused us concern.”
Russia is anxious to strengthen its armed forces in order to counter the growing threat of U.S. forces stationed in Eastern Europe. Russian missile capabilities have also come under increasing scrutiny from the U.S.; officials in Moscow claim that U.S. inspectors have visited missile divisions 10 times this year.
Under the terms of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed by the U.S. and Russia in 2010, each side can carry out 18 inspections of the other’s missiles per year. Both sides have accused the other of various treaty violations, and a lack of trust has developed between Washington and Moscow.
Missiles one part of complicated geopolitical situation
The testing of new ICBMs could cause the political crisis between the two nations to worsen. Work on the nation’s missile technology is part of a massive plan to modernize Russia’s armed forces, recently announced by President Vladimir Putin.
Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union have encouraged Russia to look eastward for allies. The recent accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by Russia and China, proves that the U.S. strategy of isolation may not have worked.
Although Moscow and Washington managed to cooperate in the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran, it looks likely that the two nations will remain at loggerheads for the foreseeable future due to an unwillingness to compromise.